The 2018 hurricane season has been extraordinarily active in parts of the U.S., with Hurricane Florence currently impacting millions in the Carolinas. As this natural disaster unfolds, the staff here at VolunteerMatch is doing its part to ensure that, if you are in an affected community, you are prepared and safe. And if you are looking to help with disaster relief efforts, you know about the most effective ways to contribute.
The Court Advocacy Unit is the foundation of the program. Created in 1985, its objectives are to provide comprehensive services to crime victims involved in the criminal justice system through the prosecution of the offender(s). The unit provides services to victims whether or not they are involved with the prosecution of an offender.
The Victim Services Program differs slightly from many other social service programs because its staff initiates contact with victims of crime. Working from prosecutors' files, advocates identify and directly contact crime victims, either by telephone or letter. Services are then provided in accordance with the desires of the victim, and may include any or all of the following:
Advising victims of the status of the case Documenting for restitution purposes any financial loss the victim suffered as a result of the crime Providing accurate information and education about the criminal justice process Accompanying victims to court hearings Referring victims to community resources, such as legal services, mental or physical health treatment, clothing and financial assistance Advocating within the criminal justice system Assisting with the application, when appropriate, for Crime Victims' Compensation benefits Providing emotional support
The program provides services to victims of all crimes, ranging from the least serious misdemeanor to those felonies that could result in the death penalty. Advocates may be involved with a victim years after the criminal case has been completed, continuing to provide services and information.
Supervised by the program director, volunteers of the Court Advocacy Unit work in the Victim Services Office between 8am and 5pm. A minimum commitment of 8 hours / week, with potential additional hours required at the time of trial, is required